CHILDREN AND NATURAL DISASTER
Dealing with A Crisis
When crisis or catastrophe envelopes our children’s world, the most important thing we can do, after ensuring their physical safety, is to be thoughtful and responsive to their emotional and educational needs. The family is a safe haven where children can express their ideas and fears with assurance that their parents will protect them and teach them about the world that they will inherit.
Powers of Nature
Our planet is a wonderful place for life. The natural world: the earth, sun, wind, water, and fire all work together to make it possible for us to live. But nature is far more powerful than human beings, and there are times that natural events create terrible conditions for people. Understanding and respecting the planet and all its forces of nature is important to safe living.
All but the very youngest children can learn that nature is a powerful force in shaping and sustaining life on the planet. Children need to understand that all the powers and properties of nature are interrelated. Human beings are just one part of it. There is a purpose for natural phenomena, and even the most negative events can have positive effects: floods distribute soil to farmland, for example, and fires help create new forest growth.
Here are some ways to help children learn to respect the natural world and feel our relationship to the earth:
- Expose children to the outdoor world of streams, rivers, lakes, the ocean, stormy weather, hills, and mountains so that they develop a sense of familiarity and safety in the presence of natural forces.
- Involve children in gardening to help them understand natural cycles.
- Use books, the media, and the internet to explore the world of nature and environmental issues as well as learn about catastrophic events. Learn how floods, forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural phenomenon have a purpose in maintaining the health of the planet.
- As a family, become more aware and active around environmental issues and become activists in promoting policies that respect nature and reduce the likelihood of damage to the environment and destruction to human society.